The Dunlin!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots East
  • Sky: overcast with showers
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Saw one California Sea Lion with a nasty looking neck wound.
  • Conducted a census today.
  • Several bird species notably absent today.
  • No Harlequin Ducks, Savannah Sparrows, or Black Oystercatchers.
  • The Sparrows have been absent all week; I suspect gone for the winter.
  • I’m sure the Harlequins and Oystercatchers are still around.
  • Only saw two Heermann’s Gulls; I think last weeks group was just passing through.
  • I did see my first Dunlin of the season though!
  • And lots more Black Turnstones than in previous weeks.
  • They like to splash around in the rain puddles.
  1. California Sea Lions: 606
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 181
  3. Harbour Seals: 12
  4. Elephant Seals: 7 (2 on Great Race, 5 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls unspecified: 586
  6. Thayer’s Gulls: 114
  7. Glaucous-winged Gulls: 76
  8. Heermann’s Gulls: 2
  9. Cormorants unspecified: 356
  10. Black Turnstone: 33
  11. Canada Geese: 3
  12. Bald Eagles: 3 (2 adult, 1 immature)
  13. Dunlin: 1

Maintenance

  • The usual chores.
  • Reset the electric fence which has been faring unusually well.

Boats

  • A surprising number of eco-tours today, given the weather, day of the week, and month.
  • I counted at least 10.

The Cackling Goose!

Weather

  • The 7:00 weather report (plus developments).
  • Visibility: 10 miles (later 15)
  • Wind: 0-5 knots South (15-25 knots West noon onwards)
  • Sky: overcast and raining (sun in the afternoon)
  • Water: calm

Ecological

  • All the elephant seals except for the smallest guy were off island today.
  • I did see 6 of them playing in the water near the jetty.
  • Improved my seagull identification skills today.
  • This was the first day I noticed many Heermann’s Gulls.
  • Fun to watch the lone cackling goose wander with the larger Canadians.
  • Saw one branded California Sea Lion: U975
  • Saw one California Sea Lion with a plastic neck ring.
  • Conducted an all day animal census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 434
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 219
  3. Harbour Seals: 59
  4. Elephant Seals: 7
  5. Seagulls: 1077 (Tentative 85% Thayer’s, 15% Glaucous-Winged)
  6. Cormorants: 375 (Tentative: 30 Pelagic, 25 Double Crested, 14 Brandt’s.)
  7. Heermann’s Gulls: 50
  8. Black Turnstone: 24
  9. Canada Geese: 11
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 10
  11. Harlequin Ducks: 3 (1 male, 2 female)
  12. Cackling Goose: 1
  13. Savannah Sparrow: 1
  14. Bald Eagle: 1 adult on South Rock

Maintenance

  • Extended my new fence set up.
  • Removed the fence in front of the students’ house.
  • It was never very effective, and is less needed now.
  • Ran the desalinator in the afternoon.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours came by today.
  • One small boat was observed speeding in the reserve.

Delayed Storm

Weather

  • Overnight: 20 knot winds and some rain.
  • The 7:00 weather report.
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 5 knots NE
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 2′ chop
  • Some clear skies at noon.
  • Around 15:30 the wind picked up to 25 knots NE and the rain restarted.
  • About 20:15 the wind shot up to 35-40 knots NE.

Ecological

  • The elephant seals were very active today.
  • There is a dead California sea lion near the derrick shed.
  • Census day.
  • Large decrease in the number of sea lions and seagulls.
  1. California Sea Lion: 294
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lion: 96
  3. Harbour Seal: 28
  4. Elephant Seal: 9 (6 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagull: 365
  6. Cormorant: 145
  7. Black Turnstone: 12
  8. Harlequin Duck: 12 (9 males, 3 females)
  9. Canada Goose: 7
  10. Black Oystercatcher: 10
  11. Savannah Sparrow: 5
  12. Bald Eagle: 1 adult on North Rock

Maintenance

  • Emptied the gross water in the rain barrel.

Boats

  • Did not see any boats in the reserve today.

Drizzly Census

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots W, later N
  • Sky: overcast with afternoon drizzles
  • Water: 1′ chop

Ecological

  • Recorded eight different sea lion brands today.
  • Two Steller/Northern sea lions: 14Y and 998R.
  • Six California sea lions: U603, 7618, 8985, U374, 9403, and 8465.
  • I didn’t get good photos of all the brands, but I am certain of the characters.
  • Conducted the weekly census.
  • Didn’t see any Harlequin Ducks or Black Oystercatchers; perhaps the inclement weather kept them out of sight?
  • Big increase in the number of cormorants from last week (20 up to 146).
  1. California Sea Lions: 541
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 202 (half of those on Middle Rock)
  3. Harbour Seals: 69
  4. Elephant Seals: 9 (3 on Great Race, 6 on Middle Rock)
  5. Sea gulls: 800
  6. Cormorants: 146
  7. Black Turnstone: 13
  8. Savannah Sparrows: 10
  9. Bald Eagles: 2 adults on West Rock
  10. Canada Geese: 2

Maintenance

  • The usual chores.

Boats

  • Recently some of the larger eco-tour boats appear to be getting too close to the sea lions near the jetty. Below are today’s observations.

Census Day!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots SW
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm
  • Beautiful sunrise today!

sunrise-1-29-9 sunrise-2-29-9

Ecological

  • Saw four branded sea lions today.
  • One Steller branded 998R.
  • Three California’s branded X611, 88, and U22[?].
  • Conducted the weekly census.
  1. California Sea Lions: 486
  2. Northern (Steller) Sea Lions: 169
  3. Harbour Seals: 151
  4. Elephant Seals: 7 on Middle Rock
  5. Sea gulls: 1020
  6. Cormorants: 20
  7. Savannah Sparrows: 20
  8. Harlequin Ducks: 4 (2 male, 2 female)
  9. Black Oystercatchers: 3
  10. Bald Eagles: 2 adult
  11. Canada Geese: 2
  12. Black Turnstone: 1

Maintenance

  • The usual chores were accomplished.

Boats

  • Several eco-tours today. Nothing unusual or problematic to report.

Other

  • Lots of DND blasting today.
  • Most of today’s blasts were louder than those from earlier this week.
  • 9:34, 9:36, 10:07, 10:09, 10:38, 10:40, 11:14, 11:46, 11:48, 12:11, and 13:14.

Black Oystercatcher Nest!

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 25-30 knots West in the morning
  • The rest of the day 15 knots West.
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 2′ chop

Ecological

  • Finally discovered a Black Oystercatcher nest!
  • 2 eggs are inside the “nest”.
  • Their nests are made of rocks and shells.
  • Census day.
  • I don’t seem to see any Black Turnstones or Surfbirds anymore.
  • Also less Bald Eagles.
  • And the Otter has been gone for a while.
  1. Harbour Seals: 117
  2. Northern Sea Lions: 32
  3. California Sea Lions: 22 (one branded U 687)
  4. Elephant Seals: 20 (17 on Great Race, 3 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls: 327
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 114
  7. Canada Geese: 21 (14 resident geese, 7 stopovers)
  8. Black Oystercatchers: 10 (plus 2 eggs!)
  9. Harlequin Ducks: 8 (6 males, 2 females)
  10. Cormorants: 4
  11. Barn Swallows: 2
  12. Bald Eagle: 1 immature
  13. Savannah Sparrow: 1

Maintenance

  • Rust painting.
  • More thistle weed whacking.
  • You can cut them down like you’re the Queen of Hearts, but they grow back.
  • Cleaned the solar panels.

Boats

  • Four or so eco-tours came by today.

Windy Census Day

Weather

  • Visibility: 15+ miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots West in the morning, 25-30 after noon.
  • Sky: Sunny with clouds.
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Expect the wind to keep it up for a while.

Ecological

  • Conducted a census today.
  • I suspect that the high winds have kept away certain species of birds, making today’s list less impressive.
  1. Harbour Seals: 91
  2. Northern Sea Lions: 47
  3. California Sea Lions: 27
  4. Elephant Seals: 19 (15 on Great Race, 4 on Middle Rock)
  5. Seagulls: 314
  6. Pigeon Guillemots: 108
  7. Surfbirds: 39
  8. Canada Geese: 18
  9. Black Turnstones: 14
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 10
  11. Rock Sandpipers: 3
  12. Bald Eagles: 3 (2 adult, 1 immature)
  13. Savannah Sparrows: 2
  14. Harlequin Ducks: 2 (1 male, 1 female)
  15. Cormorant: 1 (one seen on Turbine Rock)

Maintenance

  • Intended to spray algicide on various building walls, but too windy to ensure accuracy. Perhaps tomorrow if the wind dies down.
  • Started investigating the paint stock.
  • Some goose work.

Boats

  • No boats in the reserve today.

Cruise Ship and Sea Lions

Het Nieuw Amsterdam

Het Nieuw Amsterdam

Census and an Unexpected Trip

Weather

  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 15-20 knots West
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Sky: partly cloudy

Ecological

  • Conducted a census.
  1. Harbour Seals: 126
  2. California Sea Lions: 27
  3. Northern Sea Lions: 27
  4. Elephant Seals: 17 (12 on Great Race, 5 on Middle Rock)
  5. River Otter: 1
  6. Seagulls: 563
  7. Pigeon Guillemots: 54
  8. Black Turnstones: 51
  9. Canada Geese: 21
  10. Black Oystercatchers: 14
  11. Savannah Sparrows: 6
  12. Bald Eagles: 5 (4 immature, 1 adult)
  13. Rock Sandpipers: 4
  14. Cormorant: 2
  15. Surfbird: 1

Maintenance

  • Canada Goose themed work.

Boats

  • One eco-tour came by today.
  • Had a phone call from Kyle this morning to let me know that he would be picking me up around 13:00 for a First Nations cultural sensitivity workshop at Pearson College.
  • This was a surprise to me, but nice to get off the island for a few hours.
  • Always good to be reminded and educated on past and present issues.

POW and Middle Rock E-seals

Visitors

  • When Kyle arrived to pick me up he came ashore to take a look at a few things, and then admire the elephant seals.

Other

  • Two loud DND blasts around 12:50.

The Day After Blue Planet Day

Winds started out very light from a northerly direction and eventually backed all the way through east, southeast and around to westerlies, 15 to 20 knots and gusting, in the afternoon. Although there were some clouds and showers it seemed to be a nice day, but when you look at cumulative solar radiation values they were less than half of yesterday’s values at just below 300 Langleys. The barometer fell gradually all day and levelled out near dusk ending up at ~100.5 HPa. The strong wind warning remains in effect and is forecast to be strongest in the afternoons for the next few days.

Whale watching boats were back today after the storm subsided and four were observed in the Ecological Reserve. They were meeting and exceeding the Marine Mammal Regulations and although a couple of the smaller cowboys did manage to get between Great Race and South Islands. They were going so slowly and cautiously that the sealions that didn’t even wake up as the boats passed by.

No sports fishers or other vessels were observed in the ER.

Black Turnstones in all their summer finery.

Black Turnstones in all their summer finery.

One branded Steller’s Sealion was noted hauled out on the South Islands. This female with brand # 120Y was born at St. George Reef, California in 2002.

Female Steller's (or Northern) Sealion # 120Y. This animal was born in northern California and will be 13 years old this summer.

Female Steller’s (or Northern) Sealion # 120Y. This animal was born in northern California and will be 13 years old this summer.

Today was animal census day and the results are as follows:

Northern Elephant Seals 34 (8 on Great Race)

Harbour Seals 44 (note 137 counted following day, less windy)

California Sea lions 11

Northern Sea lions 38

Sea Otter 1

Canada Geese 18

Harlequin Ducks 4

Pelagic Cormorants 4

Double Crested Cormorants 5

Bald Eagle 2 adults, 2 sub-adults

Killdeer 1

Black Oystercatchers 10

Black Turnstones 15

Surfbird 23

Dunlin 4

Pigeon Guillemots 383

Glaucous-winged Gulls 488 adults 18 sub-adults

Caspian Tern 1 (flying through)

Common Raven 1

Barn Swallows 2

Savannah Sparrow 6

There were no visitors today. Chores were routine.

 

 

March 26 – Census

Sunny
Wind: 0-17 from varying directions throughout the day
Air Temperature: Low 9.2ºC, High 11.8ºC
Ocean Temperature: 9.0ºC

Today was spent preparing for the shift change. Anne Stewart will arriving tomorrow to take over as the Eco-Guardian.

There was one eco tour boat seen in the reserve today.

Here are the results of today’s megafauna census:
Steller Sea Lion: 58
California Sea Lion: 31
Harbour Seal: 79
Bald Eagle: 3
Cormorant: 16
Canada Goose: 24
Gull: 256
Crow: 2
Oystercatcher: 4
Pigeon Guillemot: 234
Surfbird: 8
Black Turnstone: 16
Savannah Sparrow: 1